Harvard & MIT create first self-assembling robots – the first real Transformers

August 8, 2014 3:10 PM

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Harvard & MIT create first self-assembling robots – the first real Transformers

Harvard and MIT engineers, showing a reckless disregard for the robocalypse, have created origami robots that can self-assemble themselves — from a flat piece of paper and polystyrene – and walk away in just four minutes. “Getting a robot to assemble itself autonomously and actually perform a function has been a milestone we’ve been chasing for many years,” says Harvard’s Robert Wood, barely stifling a maniacal cackle.

The origami robots are made from composite sheets of paper and polystyrene (Shrinky Dinks). The engineers print some conductive channels onto these sheets, and then use a laser machining system to create the necessary origami fold pattern. Each hinge contains an embedded circuit that, when instructe...

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